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Trans runner Valentina Petrillo, born a man, won bronze in the women’s Para Athletics World Championship 400m race in Paris.
Petrillo’s win becomes another slap in the face for women’s athletics as the biological male runner robs a winning spot from a deserving women’s runner.
Petrillo — born Fabrizio Petrillo — ran in a category reserved for visually impaired competitors. The handicapped competitors were assisted on the track at Chartley Stadium by male assistants.
Petrillo was diagnosed with Stargardt disease, a degenerative eye condition, at the age of 14.
- Omara Durand – 52.82s
- Alejandra Perez Lopez – 57.88s
- Valentina Petrillo – 58.24s
- Fatima Ezzahra El Idrissi – 59.95s
As relayed by Reduxx, the World Para Athletics Championships permits trans competitors under the IOC’s ruling, which also oversees the inclusion of trans competitors in the Olympics. The outlet spoke with Peter Eriksson, former Paralympic head coach, who denounced the inclusion of a male-born competitor among the impaired female racers.
Valentina Petrillo’s Win Threatens Women’s Athletics
The latest win by Petrillo bumps his total medal count in women’s events to nine.
“It’s shocking to see that women’s opportunities to a medal were taken by a cheating 49-year-old male,” Eriksson told Reduxx. “The International Paralympic Committee is diminishing the rights of fairness in women’s sport by allowing transgender athletes at their events.”
Eriksson added, “It’s a cop-out not to make a stance in support of women in sport. It feels kind of like they are trying to push the blame onto the IOC,” Eriksson says. “They adapted World Athletics rules and should also adopt the World Athletics regulation on transgender and DSD participation.”
After failed attempts to win at men’s events, Petrillo began his hormone therapy treatment in 2019. He was previously married to a woman with whom he shares a son.
Petrillo last competed among women in March at the Italian Indoor Masters Championship, where he placed first.
Petrillo’s win at the 200m women’s race would have placed 14th among men, per GRIPT.ie. The runner-up for the event, Italian athlete Cristina Sanulli, said she felt “very discriminated against” by Petrillo’s inclusion.
“Better to be a slow happy woman than a fast unhappy man,” Petrillo told the BBC when discussing his transition.
The Italian runner has also compared naysayers to “Hitler” for criticizing his decision to run among women.